Governors Roles and Responsibilities

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Governors Roles and Responsibilities

Who are they?

Every state school has a Governing Body, consisting of a set number of various categories of governors depending on the type and size of school. All governors are unpaid for their work, though they may receive payment for expenses. Scotland has its own system.

  • Head Teacher - usually chairs the board.
  • Parent Governors: parents (ideally of children at the school)either be elected by parents of children at the school, or if insufficient numbers are elected, can be appointed by the governing body to fill any remaining vacancies. Such appointees need not be parents of children currently attending the school - if no suitable candidates are found, they may be parents of former pupils, or of any child of school age.
  • Staff Governors: members of the school staff-elected by the school staff and must be paid to work at the school, by the school (that is, not under an external contract such as catering or cleaning). At least one staff governor must be a teacher, and if there are three or more staff governors, at least one must be a member of the support staff.
  • LEA Governors: nominated by the Local Authority
  • Community Governors: members of the local community (appointed by the rest of the governing body)
  • Foundation, Partnership and Sponsor Governors: representatives of any sponsoring bodies

Roles and Responsibilities

The role of the Governing Body is to provide strategic management, and to act as a "critical friend", supporting the work of the headteacher and other staff.

Schools usually have an amount of money or budget to cover salaries, running costs, maintenance and equipment; the Governing Body is responsible for managing this budget.

They decide

  • Number and types of staff to employ,
  • Which equipment to upgrade or replace
  • Priorities are for implementing new strategies and initiatives.

Governors must appoint the headteacher, and usually help to appointment other staff.

They also help to

  • Monitoring the school's progress,
  • Set annual targets for the school's performance
  • Set targets for the headteacher
  • Oversee the head, for example making sure the headteacher sets targets for other staff.

They are legally responsible for:

  • Balancing the school budget
  • Personnel
  • The curriculum
  • Health and Safety of the school premises
  • Health and Safety of the school staff
  • Health and Safety of the children.
  • Inclusion and special needs in the school
  • Child welfare and Every Child Matters and the 5 outcomes


Governors must review school exclusions in certain circumstances, and have the power to reinstate an excluded pupil or reduce the term of the exclusion (although not to increase it).

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